THE CORTINAS. (1963-1968)

"THE CORTINAS" were formed in 1963 when I left my first band "BOBBY HALE AND THE HALESTONES"  (who?) and got together with Roger Cook who was a childhood friend and decided to form a band. We advertised for musicians and ended up with a girl singer who called herself Shelayne and her rhythm guitarist boyfriend Barry. We performed our first gig at Onslow School Hatfield as "SHELAYNE AND THE CORTINAS" with that line up and no bass player. Bass players were very thin on the ground and after much searching, persuaded (conned) my brother Nigel (Who was more interested in football than music, and still is) that the bass guitar was the instrument for him and he purchased a very large Framus Bass guitar. He was then 14 years old and the bass was nearly as big as him. The first thing I taught him to play was "Thank You Girl" by The Beatles which was mostly open strings with very little fingering, but he picked things up very quickly and was soon playing well. Nigel's first bass amp was built by our father who although he was a woodworker by trade , had turned his hand to electronics in the early fifties when he hand built our very first television. I played a Futurama Guitar (A cheap, but very good, strat copy) through a Vox AC 30 amplifier.





We did a few local gigs as SHELAYNE AND THE CORTINAS" before Shelayne and Barry left. We rehearsed as a three piece for a few weeks with all three of us singing. Mick Taylor (later to join The Rolling Stones) came round with his Dad and said that he was thinking of leaving his band "The Juniors" and was interested in joining us. Mick had been in the same class as Nigel at school and although only fourteen years old he was already a very good player. A few days later Mick rang to say that he was staying with "THE JUNIORS" so after a bit more searching we recruited Paul Crowland on rhythm guitar. He played a Burns Tri-sonic guitar through a Selmer amplifier but soon upgraded to a Gibson 335 semi acoustic.

On January 4th 1964 I bought my first expensive guitar a Gretsch Tennessean. Twelve days later on January 12th 1964 The Beatles were on "Sunday Night at The London Palladium and I was rather pleased that George Harrison was playing a Gretsch Tennessean instead of his usual Country Gentleman.


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